Among the winners in Mayor Marion Barry's newly minted fiscal 1987 spending plan were the District's libraries, which would be able to stay open on Saturdays and acquire more books.
The proposed budget, announced by Barry last week, calls for a $1.64 million increase for the D.C. Library, bringing the total budget to $17.3 million. The budget also includes $200,000 for the new Shepherd Park Branch Library to purchase books. The branch is to be on the 7400 block of Georgia Avenue, and the city is now in the process of acquiring the land there, according to library officials.
Citizen Advocates for Libraries, an informal group of residents, has been pushing for longer hours. One of the group's leaders this week expressed satisfaction with the new library budget.
"This keeping the libraries open longer is something we have been lobbying for for many years," said Charmaine Boyd, adding that members of her group "were very pleased with the budget that they got."
All regional and branch libraries will be open six days a week instead of five. In addition, all will be open six mornings a week rather than three at local branches and four at regional branches.
The D.C. budget also would make up for a loss of federal funding to retain the paging service at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library.
More books could be purchased throughout the system with another $125,000 in funding put in the budget.
The city expects books borrowed to increase from 1,843,000 this fiscal year to 1,994,000 next year, and for library visits to increase by more than 100,000 to a total of 2.1 million.
The city system includes 20 branch libraries and five community and kiosk libraries.